The Michael Lang Letters
Letter 18

 

      The next morning I went to the hospital. There lay my wife unable to speak, having a high fever and her pulse beating very slowly. I quickly ran back to the depot and made some hot tea, took it back to my wife and gave her some of it. Then I spoke to the nurse and asked him to give her some medicine. He said he would, seeing I had been so helpful. Then I called a priest who gave her the last rights of the church, but she had such a high fever that she understood little that was going on. The nurse gave her some medicine and after a few days I notice that she was somewhat better. Again I went to the Commissar and begged them to give us a dwelling. "Very well" they said “we will see what we can do". In the mean time the number of persons, men and women and children had increased to 60 and some died. Among the dead were the father and mother of the child who had died previously. The other two children were still living. A few days later I came to my wife in the hospital. When she saw me she said, "0 how happy, how happy I am”. The fever is down. Seeing where she was and not knowing how she got there and seeing me there too she was very happy. Then I felt better too. I prayed hard too that God would not forsake me in such trying times. He did not, because soon afterward the Commissar provided us with a dwelling, a large building into which we all moved. The building was heated. The Commissar also supplied each one with bread. My wife was much better that she could stay with me but she 'was not entirely well.

Now I began to make inquires to find out whether we could get across the border into Poland. In the Kamenez Fodoldki there were still three Catholic priests, one of them could speak German. I asked the priest whether it would be possible to get to Poland. From there it would be easier for our friends in America to get us to that country. The priest answered, "If you had come earlier you could have crossed the boundary into Poland but now the Poles have closed the border and even if you succeeded in grossing the boundary the Poles would send you back. This happened to one of our men who together with his wife crossed the border. As soon as the Poles noticed them they arrested them and sent them back to Russia and handed them over to the Communists who took from them little that they had and then let them go. So our hopes were shattered. Now another train arrived brining more of the Volga Germans who had the same plans to get to America. Most of them were sick too. They too were to live in the same building with us, that was a mess. Soon after the Commissar sent us away into small cities and villages and to farmers. My wife and I and a number of others people came to a small village called Smotritsch. There we were given lodging with the Jews (juten). My wife and I also found lodging with the Jews. They gave us a bed. We still had our own bedding. My wife was still sick. She could be up and around but had not fully recovered her health. Now I began to feel sick and raised a fever. In the town there was a hospital which was somewhat better than the one in which my wife had been and there was a doctor there. So one day I went there and saw the doctor. He examined me and found that I had fever over 100 degrees. He was surprised that I could still be up. He asked whether I intended staying in the hospital. I said I could not because my wife was sick in bed and I must go back to her. He gave me some pills and I returned to my wife. So we both were in bed for a while and the Jewish people took care or us and also gave us food. One night I became very thirsty. The Jews had a barrel of water standing near our bed. It filled every morning for the needs or the day. We were not allowed to take of this water but they filled a glass and gave it to us. During the night I got a dipper of water and drank it. Believe after a few days I grew better too. We developed an appetite for soup and with pork but we could not cook there in the Jewish house so went to some polish people who lived nearby. There we cooked and ate our meal. Quite unexpectedly we received order from the Commissars that we could continue our journey to another town called Kupin. When we arrived the so called village court, among whom was a commissar who was supervisor or the hospital. He asked me whether I and my wife would not like to go with him to the hospital to work there. He said he would give us food and a room so we went with him. He gave us a warm room but the food was scarce. He had very little for himself. At least we had a warm room. There was no one in the hospital, no doctor either. The other people who had come with us had been distributed among the farmers. Many of them were still sick. The winter of 1922 was not yet past, but the weather was getting warm. And with the warm weather our health improved. I learned that of the people who came with us some were in the village 3 miles away. One of them had been my comrade at home. I went to the village and found that as many as 16 person, among them children were in one room lying on the floor. Many of them were sick or ailing. That grieved me because I had always been ready to help my neighbors. My friend Peter by name a asked me.




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